Abortion Advocates Run TV Ad, Protest Bush Advisor for March Comments

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 4, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Abortion Advocates Run TV Ad, Protest Bush Advisor for March Comments

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
May 4, 2004

Decatur, GA (LifeNews.com) — Leading abortion advocacy groups are stepping up their attacks on President Bush’s adviser Karen Hughes in the wake of her comments responding to the national march for abortion by saying that respect for life has increased following the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Planned Parenthood promised that Hughes would be met with opposition on her book tour and, as promised, pro-abortion protesters showed up at a book signing at Georgia’s Agnes Scott College.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper reports that the activists, numbering only two dozen, chanted "Karen Hughes, apologize; Agnes Scott won’t take your lies." Hughes, a longtime Bush aide, was in town to discuss "Ten Minutes From Normal," her memoirs.

Reis, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Georgia, said her group wanted Hughes to apologize for her remarks.

"I appreciate your convictions, although I don’t agree with you," Hughes responded.

Meanwhile, NARAL released a television spot today criticizing Hughes. The ad features video from the pro-abortion march along with footage of the CNN interview with Hughes.

"On April 25, 1.1 million Americans stood up for privacy and a woman’s right to choose. One of George Bush’s top advisors compared the marchers to — you guessed it — terrorists," the ad says.

Hughes said on Tuesday that her comments are taken out of context in the ad and that she never compared abortion advocates to terrorists.

Hughes said the following in response to the pro-abortion march: "I think after September 11, the American people are valuing life more and I think those are the kind of policies the American people can support, particularly at a time when we’re facing an enemy, and really, the fundamental difference between us and the terror network we fight is that we value every life."

"It’s the founding conviction of our country, that we’re endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights, the right to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness," Hughes added. "Unfortunately our enemies in the terror network, as we’re seeing repeatedly in the headlines these days, don’t value any life, not even the innocent and not even their own."

The NARAL ad may be an attempt to inflate support for pro-abortion groups in the wake of the abortion march, where attendance was significantly less than predicted.

Despite the claim of 1.1 million participants, repeated a second time later in the ad, most media and police estimates pegged the march at around 500,000 people — less than half of what organizers expected.

At least one pro-life advocates has come to Hughes’ defense.
In an op-ed column, Ramesh Ponnuru, a senior editor at National Review, defended Hughes’ comments. He said Hughes deserves praise for assuming that, unlike terrorists, abortion advocates can be persuaded to value human life.

"Indeed, her implicit argument assumes that supporters of abortion can be moved to value human life in a way that supporters of terrorism, presumably, cannot," Ponnuru wrote.

Ponnuru said he didn’t think Hughes owed Planned Parenthood, or abortion advocates.

"Hard words get said in politics," he wrote. "At last weekend’s march, politicians suggested, explicitly or implicitly, that pro-lifers are enemies of the Constitution, haters of women, slave drivers, people without consciences, and opponents of civil rights."